The Hold On Pain Ends (HOPE) club held their first forum in the 200 building to discuss the Isla Vista tragedy on Thursday Oct. 16.
The HOPE club is a peer support group, lead by advisor Bridger Kominek, that focuses on providing guidance to victims of sexual violence and raising awareness on campus.
HOPE club president Francesca Valencia moderated the event. The panel included Callista Lee representing the psychology department, Amber Gonzalez a recent University of Santa Barbara alumni, and Vanessa Miller director of Health Services.
“I attended a forum at UCLA and thought it would be a great idea to have a similar discussion at Fullerton College,” Valencia said. “The goal for this meeting is not to highlight the shooter, but to highlight solutions and what we could do next here on campus.”
It opened with a summary of events by Valencia and a retelling of what Gonzalez felt on campus.
“I was surprised that so many people were surprised,” Gonzalez said.
She went on to describe how the campus security was lax in the Isla Vista area, often turning a blind eye. She had witnessed and experienced harassment. After the events occurred there was an outpouring of support.
The discussion then turned to questions about how something like this could occur, how to avoid it happening here and ended with audience member questions.
The panel also discussed tips on how students can remain safe on campus.
“Not everyone here on campus is a student. If you see something that is strange, notify somebody. Be a part of efforts to change the environment, to change the community so that we have a culture of safety,” Miller said.
On misogyny and harassment prevention:
“We need men to step up to train to be mentors to other men. Women just aren’t things, we are all people. We could have something like this on campus,” Lee said.
The HOPE club plans to organize more forums like this in the future. The club is open to all those that want to make a difference in the community and raise awareness about sexual violence.